Published on 01/06/2022

HIV: What solutions for vulnerable populations?

Praia, J2 - The lack of care for vulnerable populations in HIV/AIDS programmes is a reality in West and Central Africa. Many People Living with HIV (PLHIV) do not have access to antiretroviral treatment. This is due to several factors: weak or almost non-existent public policies towards this segment of the population, stigmatisation, non-availability of health care in certain conflict zones, among others.

 All these problems have prompted the Civil Society Institute for Health in West and Central Africa to raise its voice to decision makers and donors. Gathered in Praia for the regional meeting on HIV in West and Central Africa, civil society actors believe that the situation in the region needs to be changed. Because it is a question of public health and respect for human rights.

A better understanding of HIV issues

Firstly, they recommend a better understanding of HIV issues in order to adapt the response to the context of the region. This includes addressing the political, legal, security and socio-cultural factors in the region.

Secondly, improved data collection, analysis and use for more effective programmes and programme models that meet the needs of most-at-risk populations in different contexts. This supports the solutions and recommendations made by the technical experts at the end of the meeting held in Praia in March 2022.

The head of advocacy at Coalition Plus advocates the elimination of concepts that are in the way and the adoption of appropriate terminology. According to him, the region must learn from the lessons of the past and further popularise scientific advances that must be the subject of consensus. To this end, the involvement of actors at community level and the definition of practical modalities of cooperation with the media are important in order to deconstruct the discourses that expose vulnerable populations.

The responsibility of states to achieve the objectives set

However, the civil society actors did not fail to underline the responsibility of the different States for the achievement of the set objectives. On Wednesday1 June 2022, they will be looking at the most appropriate solutions for better care for vulnerable populations in programmes to combat HIV in West and Central Africa. The aim will be to build health ecosystems that work for all, to develop new partnerships between the government and community sectors for vulnerable populations and those forgotten in the response to HIV.